Keeping Religion Out of Political Discourse

I discussed a Reverend’s religiously based response to an article on abortion.  Here is what he said:

ELLEN GOODMAN (”Trumping women’s rights,” Op-ed, April 20) accuses politicians (mostly male) of playing God. May I remind her that it was the first woman playing God in a garden and deciding for herself what was good and what was evil that got us into the moral mess that we find ourselves in today.

Well he got two amazing responses in the May 6th Sunday Globe:

THE GLOBE does a public service in publishing letters like that of the Rev. George Szal (“Womb, woman, and child,” April 29), in which he espouses the breathtakingly medieval notion of blaming the world’s troubles on a woman’s choice — in this case, the biblical Eve. It serves as a useful reminder of how far most people’s concepts of morality have evolved since the Middle Ages, and at the same time of how much remains to be accomplished.


The Reverend is indeed stuck in a dark past, and his letter only serves to show just how out of touch the radical religious right is.  Jenniffer’s response really hits home (emphasis mine):

I AM sure that I am not the only woman and reader compelled to respond to George Szal’s infuriating letter regarding the Supreme Court’s recent ban on so-called partial-birth abortion. While the reverend is certainly entitled to his opinion, I would like to remind him, as well as other religious individuals, that I am protected from the ramifications of such opinions by the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state. Religious fables have no place in political debates that decide my right to make decisions regarding my own health and welfare. Shame on Szal for writing a letter that overtly degrades and vilifies women, and shame on the Globe for giving him a platform to do so.


Ouch.  But right on.  Why should one person’s religious conviction be a legal force in our country, a sword dangled over all our heads?  The Reverend’s letter not only serves to try and justify the ruling, it also attempts to suggest women innately deserve to be oppressed, that women are not morally equal to men.

We do not need religion to have a system of ethics.  We do not need religion, period, to have a successful and compassionate government.  What we do need is a sharper distinction between Church and State.  It is not just our religious freedoms, but all of our freedoms that are at stake.  If one religion is established as a valid source for law, then more than our ability to practice or not practice as we choose could be lost.

By pursuing a secular state, we have so much more to gain.  We can start by looking at where we ground our arguments.


One Response

  1. […] already talked a bit about the letter, but it is one line that sticks out (emphasis mine): THE GLOBE does a public […]

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